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The Authoritative Life of General William Booth   By: (1849-1913)

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[Illustration: William Booth

Born April 10th. 1829. Died August 20th, 1912.]

The Authoritative Life Of General William Booth Founder of The Salvation Army


G. S. Railton First Commissioner to General Booth

With a Preface by General Bramwell Booth

Copyright, 1912, By George H. Doran Company


I have no hesitation in commending this small volume as containing so far as its space permits, a good picture of my beloved Father and a record of much that made his life of interest and importance to the world.

It does not, of course, profess to cover anything like the whole story of his many years of world wide service. It could not do so. For any such complete history we must wait for that later production which may, I hope, be possible before very long when there has been time to go fully through the masses of diaries, letters and other papers he has left behind him.

It must not be supposed that I can make myself responsible for every phrase Commissioner Railton has used. I know, however, that perhaps no one except myself had anything like his opportunities, during the last forty years, of knowing and studying my Father's life, both in public and private, and of understanding his thoughts and purposes.

Now we wish this book to accomplish something. We cannot think it possible for anyone, especially a Salvationist, to read it without being compelled ever and anon to ask himself such questions as these:

"Am I living a life that is at all like this life? Am I, at any rate, willing by God's grace to do anything I can in the same direction, in order that God may be more loved and glorified, and that my fellow men may be raised to a more God like and happy service? After all, is there not something better for me than money making, or the search after human applause, or indeed the pursuit of earthly good of any kind?

"If, instead of aiming at that which will all fade away, I turn my attention to making the best of my life for God and for others, may I not also accomplish something that will afford me satisfaction at last and bear reflection in the world to come?"

I hope also that to some, at least, the great message of this life will stand revealed in these pages. I believe it to be that, while God can do little or nothing by us until we are completely submitted and given up to Him, He can work wonders of infinite moment to the world when we are. Asked, a few months before his death, if he would put into a sentence the secret as he saw it, of all the blessings which had attended him during his seventy years of service, The General replied: "Well, if I am to put it into one sentence, I would say that I made up my mind that God Almighty should have all there was of William Booth." It was, in the beginning, that entire devotion to God and its continued maintenance which could, alone, account for the story told in these brief records.

The book is, of course, written in the main from the Salvationist point of view; much of it, indeed, is simply a reproduction of my father's own sayings and writings to his own people. This, to all thoughtful readers, must be our defence against any appearance of self glorification, or any omission to refer to the work in the world that others are doing for Christ. No attempt has been made to tell the story of The General's "life and times," but simply to note some of the things he said and did himself. And I trust the record may be found useful by all the many servants of God who do not think exactly as he thought, but who yet rejoiced in the triumphs of the Cross through his labours.

To continue and to amplify the results of his work must needs be my continual aim. I am full of hope that this book may bring me some help, not only towards his Memorial Scheme, which contemplates the erection and equipment in London and other Capitals of enlarged premises for the Training of Officers in every branch of the work, or where they already have such buildings, the erection of new Headquarters or Halls; but towards the maintenance and extension in every land of the work he began... Continue reading book >>

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